Color: Brown or reddish-brown on top with a white throat and belly and black eyes.
Size: 3-4 inches long, not including the tail.
Deer Mouse Habits
Deer mice (also called white-footed mice, along with 50+ other subspecies) may be tiny and cute, but they are a big problem to have around. They will eat plants, insects, your food, carrion, roots, seeds, etc. They breed profusely, with females able to have multiple litters a year, each with three to five pups, and are sexually mature within a couple of months. With enough food and housing, a deer mouse colony can grow enormous. It is important to note that deer mice spend their days hidden in burrows or nests, coming out at night to forage. Once you notice them, the problem may already be significant. They can also climb trees, fences, and other objects.
Deer mice do have some benefits for humans; they’re live well in captivity and are used for lab studies on taxonomy and microevolution.
Deer Mouse Habitats
Deer mice can be found all over North and Central America, from summer-only habitats in Canada to the tropics of Panama. They can live in tundra, desert, forests, grasslands, plains, and more. Deer mice might enter your house to forage, but for nesting they prefer spaces with more access to the outdoors and less human contact, like barns, cellars, and even disused machinery.
Risks Posed by Deer Mice
Deer mice are a major vector of hantavirus (which can lead to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome), plague, and Lyme disease. Disease is easily spread by animals like deer mice; even their feces can dry out and enable a virus to become aerosolized. Deer mouse droppings are also a lure for bacteria and other pests, like roaches.
Signs of Deer Mice
Excrement is usually the first sign you’ll see of deer mice. Watch areas like your cabinets, basement, and attic for little dark pellets resembling grains of rice. Also keep an eye out for gnawed wood, new holes in walls and furniture, and the smell of urine.
Preventing Deer Mouse Infestations
One of the best ways to prevent problems with deer mice is to deny them entry to your home, outbuildings, and other spaces. Seal up holes and cracks, even ones as small as a coin, and fill any wall voids. Don’t leave soft or rotting wood around and keep paper and cardboard items off the ground. Be careful how you store your and your animals’ food—don't use cardboard boxes or paper bags. We recommend airtight plastic containers. It can be harder to assess a deer mouse situation in an outbuilding, so call us to come take a look. Machinery, livestock, and stored possessions can suffer from the effects of a deer mouse colony. Fortunately, one of the oldest tricks in the book for dealing with mice still works well—cats!
Getting Rid of Deer Mice
Do not pick up a deer mouse. Even though they are tiny, they can bite rapidly and spread disease through their saliva, feces, and blood. Call your local pest professional instead. We will trap, exterminate, and expel all of the mice and treat the area to make sure they do not come back. We can also advise you on any entry points the mice used and anything else that attracted them to your space.
If you suspect any sort of mice in your space, call Rochester Pest Pro to keep yourself and your loved ones, both human and animal, safe from the dangers they bring.
If you suspect a deer mice problem, contact Rochester Pest Pro for a quote.